If you’ve been working from home for the last year and a half you’ll know how easy it is to disappear down a rabbit-hole of unproductivity on the internet. You might even be doing it right now reading this blog post instead of working on that Excel document (get back to work right afterwards, ok?). But how does the world pass the time on the internet between Teams meetings?
Zyro has done the research into this using data from SimilarWeb to find out how long the world spends on the biggest websites and some of the findings may surprise you.
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The Most Popular Websites
The websites that get the most traffic overall aren’t a huge shock, with a top five of Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, while the next two biggest sites are Russian search engine Yandex and Chinese search engine Baidu, offering a reminder that there is life on the net outside of Silicon Valley.
In the music category there’s one clear winner in the form of Spotify, which we spent more than 317.5 million hours browsing and listening to top tunes. That’s more than twice the nearest rival Soundcloud but still only enough to earn it 42nd place overall.
When it comes to food websites, unsurprisingly we all spend a lot of our time ordering deliveries on sites like DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub and JustEat as well as old favorites like Dominos and Pizza Hut.
Online gaming has become big business in recent years, both in terms of playing and watching livestreams of other people playing. Roblox is the undisputed winner here, with 3 billion hours spent playing games like Brookhaven and AdoptMe on there, while streaming site Twitch has used up just under 2 billion hours of our time.
Browsing travel websites has been a case of wishful thinking for much of the last 18 months with no vacations to book, but we’ve still been busy on them. Booking.com comes out on top with 328.6 million hours spent on there, just ahead of Airbnb, Vrbo, TripAdvisor and Expedia.
In the entertainment world, YouTube is the clear winner with 142.6 billion hours, but a surprise second place goes to adult video site Xvideos, which has seen 6.5 billion hours of our time, putting it above big names like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.
And finally, the other main activity we spend time on the internet doing is dating and Tinder has seen 232.5 million hours’ worth of swiping left and right, ahead of Badoo, PoF, Match and Russian site Fotostrana.
The Big Players
For the websites that take up the most of our time, it’s worth revisiting just how much of that time we spend on them. For example, Google is the undisputed king of the internet because our 213.1 billion hours a year we spend on there adds up to an even more impressive sounding 1.6 million years.
Over at YouTube, we spend more time there on an average visit at 21.53 minutes a time, compared to 11.58 minutes on Google. While it doesn’t get quite as much traffic, that still adds up to 142.6 billion hours and 1.1 million years spent watching cat videos. It’s amazing that we have time to do anything else.
These stats certainly showcase just how much those two sites dominate the world wide web, especially when you compare them to third-placed Facebook. Our average time there is 10.13 minutes before we get sick of dodgy political opinions from family members and smug vacation snaps from people we went to school with.
However, given that we only spend 44.6 billion hours on Facebook, that adds up to just 334.6 thousand years, which is still longer than humans have existed on Earth. Whether that’s impressive or depressing depends on your viewpoint.
It’s certainly a lot more time than we’ve spent on Twitter, which is 13.4 billion hours and 100 thousand years’ worth of our time, even if most of that is spent arguing with strangers about basically anything and everything.
America’s Favorite Websites
When the results only reflect how Americans spend their time on the internet, at first glance there isn’t much obvious change from the global picture. Google, YouTube and Facebook are still the big three, but just outside the top 5 you can see one key difference with Amazon in 6th place nationally and only 20th internationally.
Others in the top 10 include Instagram, Reddit and Microsoft Office’s website, which Americans spend 1.2 billion hours on each year. Wikipedia and eBay also make it into the top 15, along with adult sites Xvideos and PornHub.
In the top 20 of America’s favorite websites, Roblox is the top gaming website while Zoom saw 849.1 million hours of usage, which will have only risen because of the pandemic and the endless Zoom quizzes we all took part in to distract us from baking banana bread.
These are the websites that we have all spent so much time on in the last year, so what have we learned? We’ve seen that search engines still have a big role in our lives, with 5 of the top 10 global sites being used to help us find the other websites that we’re looking for.
And we’ve seen that between Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we spend a combined 422 billion hours browsing them, so has that time been well spent?